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From The Silk Route Series

Abigail O'Brien - 2015/2016

‘At his best, Man is the noblest of all animals;
separated from law and justice he is the worst.’

Aristotle, 384BC – 322BC

The Silk Route Series, 2015/2016, refers to justice, power, balance and probity. Over the past few years Abigail O’Brien has been working on The Cardinal Virtues. These virtues are Prudence, Temperance, Justice and Fortitude.

Virtues are guidelines and codes of conduct. The Cardinal Virtues are a treatise in dualism and every virtue has its vice. What today constitutes a virtue? How are these virtues transformed or perhaps sublimated into an acceptable form? Who today are the virtuous?

Temperance, 2009 and Fortitude, 2005, have both been realised. Prudence, using the metaphor of the game of Golf as its vehicle and themes from Caspar David Friedrich on the idealised landscape, debuted at the RHA, Dublin in November 2017.

‘We cannot attribute to fortune or virtue
that which is achieved without either.’

Niccolo Machiavelli 1469-1627

As Abigail’s work is process based, The Silk Route Series became a part of her investigation into the virtue of Justice. Other aspects to this new body of work include a Digital LED scrolling dictionary of Legal terminology, photographic images from the Robing Room in a Provincial Courthouse and embroidered text on Lawyers ‘Flap’ collars.